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Create an Academic Poster

Poster Planning

  • Identify the content that you think is most important and consider where you can put it in your poster to catch your audience’s attention. The most important information should take up the most space on your poster.
  • Since most audience members will read your poster from left to right and top to bottom, arrange your content in that order. In other words, put the background and research question at the top left and put the conclusion at the bottom right.
  • When planning, distinguish between necessary and information which might be interesting but not critical to understanding your research. During the presentation, you can provide extra information and answer your audience’s questions, but the poster also needs to stand alone.

Overall Structure

  • The poster title should describe your research, author information, and institution name/logo.
  • Use section titles to help your audience locate information quickly and easily. 
  • Common section titles follow the scientific method (background, objectives/hypothesis, materials/methods, results, conclusions, references, and acknowledgements) but depend on the nature of your research.
  • Use colour, spacing, and/or font to make titles and section headers prominent.

Orientation and Size

  • Landscape posters (wider than they are high) are most common. They are often 48” wide x 36” tall (122 cm x 92 cm) and contain 3-4 columns.
  • Portrait posters (higher than they are wide) are less common. They are often 36” wide x 48” tall (92 cm x 122 cm) and contain 2 columns.
  • Refer to the poster guidelines of the conference or class where you’ll be presenting to confirm the orientation and poster size you should use.

Resources to help with poster design

These resources provide

  • recommendations to consider when creating a poster
  • downloadable preformatted templates in PowerPoint to start creating your poster
  • tips to save you time and money to create a quality final product

Video: Dos and Don'ts of designing a posteHandout: Academic Poster TemplatesHandout: How to create a poster

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